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Arizona Tourism has Record-Setting Year in 2005

July 11, 2006

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Arizona Tourism has Record-Setting Year in 2005
Arizona Welcomes 31 Million Visitors

Record-setting visitation numbers and incredible growth defined Arizona’s tourism industry in 2005, as the state surpassed pre-September 11 levels, marking a significant progression beyond the recovery phase that has characterized the industry for three years, Governor Janet Napolitano announced today.

Year-end tourism numbers for 2005 show that domestic overnight visitation increased 4.7 percent to 29.1 million, setting a record number for Arizona tourism. Combined with international visitation, Arizona welcomed 31 million total visitors, a net increase of 1 million visitors. In 2005, Arizona’s visitor spending brought in $17.5 billion in direct travel expenditures, a nearly 10 percent increase over 2004. Additionally, leisure visitors to Arizona stayed an average of 3.87 nights, significantly longer than the U.S. average of 2.881 nights.

Arizona ’s record-breaking year also extended into the lodging sector, with demand, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) all reaching first-time highs in 2005. According to Smith Travel Research, demand in Arizona increased 5.5 percent, beating out the U.S. increase of only 3.3 percent. ADR reached $90.68, an increase of 7.3 percent from 2004, taking Arizona to a rank of 5 th in the nation for growth of ADR. This increase was higher than both the U.S. and Mountain region (5.3 percent and 2.6 percent). RevPAR was $59.76, up 12.6 percent, which exceeded the average rates both nationally and regionally and ranks 7 th in the nation. Hotel occupancy also increased 4.9 percent to 65.9 percent, higher than the U.S. average of 63.1 percent. Arizona’s hotel occupancy ranks 8 th in the nation.

“It is remarkable to see the tourism industry help propel Arizona into this new chapter of growth,” Governor Napolitano said. “These record-breaking tourism numbers impact the lives of every Arizona resident by generating tax dollars that fund crucial programs that care for our children, build our system of education and help keep Arizonans safe.”

Although non-resident travel to Arizona reached its highest level in the past six years with an increase of 8.4 percent, in-state travel continued to play a significant role. Nearly 30 percent of visitation came from resident trips. This correlates to AOT’s in-state summer travel campaign, which encouraged visitors to explore attractions right in their own backyard. California provided

26.4 percent of non-resident overnight leisure visitation, followed by Nevada, Texas, Illinois, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota and New York. Arizona’s top origin states continue

to be those where AOT and many partners around the state focused the bulk of their efforts.

Record-breaking numbers also came from Arizona’s airport traffic, with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport up 4.3 percent to more than 41 million enplanements/deplanements. Tucson International Airport also hit a record with a 9.5 percent increase to more than 4.1 million. Overall, Arizona domestic overnight leisure air travel was twice that of the average U.S. overnight destination (26 percent versus 13 percent).

“These record-breaking numbers reinforce the incredible strength and resilience of Arizona’s tourism industry and the solid ground we have gained since 2001," said AOT Director Margie A. Emmermann. “AOT will continue our commitment to achieving maximum return on investment for our marketing dollars and showcasing the Grand Canyon State as a world-class destination to new domestic and international travelers as well as residents in our home state.”

Internationally, preliminary reports show a nearly 19 percent increase in Canadian visitation, which would be another visitation record. Arizona saw a 1.3 percent increase in German visitation, and visitation from the UK increased 8.62 percent to 126,000 visitors. Arizona also had a tremendous increase in visitors from France, at 12.5 percent.

The average age of Arizona overnight visitors increased to 49, representing an increase in visits from the Baby Boomer and Silent Generation travelers. These two generational groups contribute a relatively higher share of dollars per trip, making them high value visitors for Arizona. In addition, 41 percent of domestic overnight leisure travelers to Arizona had an annual household income of $75,000 or higher.

State Parks visitation also had an increase of 0.1 percent, and visitation to Grand Canyon National Park increase 1.7 percent to more than 4.4 million visitors.

Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion and development. AOT works to serve the Grand Canyon State’s travel industry and related businesses, the traveling public, and the taxpayers of Arizona.

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